Welcome Peter

I’m delighted to announce Peter Thiel is joining YC as one of the (now 10!) part-time partners. 

In addition to founding PayPal and Palantir and being the first investor in Facebook, Peter has been involved with many of the most important technology companies of the last 15 years, both personally and through Founders Fund, and the founders of those companies will generally tell you he has been their best source of strategic advice.  He already works with a number of YC companies, and we’re very happy he’ll be working with more.

We generally won’t bring on people that are involved with other investing firms given the obvious conflict, but Peter is so good we felt like we had to make an exception.  Peter won’t invest in any companies while they’re in YC or for 3 months after they present at Demo Day (this will apply to Peter’s investment entities as well), which should eliminate any unfair advantage.  We’re pretty paranoid about potential conflicts, and we’ll continually evaluate this and change it if it’s not working.

On a personal note, Peter is one of the two people (along with PG) who has taught me the most about how to invest in startups.  I am confident that Peter joining will be great for YC.

BuildScience’s (YC W15) Platform Ties Hardware Systems Together In Big Office Buildings

"Google’s $3 billion acquisition of Nest made it clear that Internet-connected hardware in the home was a big opportunity. But what about the commercial market?

Y Combinator-backed BuildScience is betting that owners of large commercial office buildings are going to want a similar way of managing heating, lighting, utility metering, and security. But this startup is not building its own hardware. Instead, they are plugging into and building a software platform for existing ventilation and lighting systems, which they say have caught up dramatically in the last five years with the Internet-of-Things wave. They say these systems now make use of thousands of sensors, but there’s no elegant way of viewing or using that data.

The app that Patel and co-founder Jaimal Soni have built lets building owners and property managers drill down into floor-by-floor stats on security and lighting among other areas. They can track down unique issues if, say, heating stops working on a certain floor. That data can also go toward managing costs and energy usage better."

Read the full article on TechCrunch

EquipmentShare (YC W15) Is Like Airbnb For Construction Equipment

EquipmentShare joins the YC W15 batch: 

"In today’s world it seems there are fewer and fewer industries exist where there isn’t some sort of peer-to-peer model emerging for access to the goods needed to get a job done. Every segment is creating its own “Airbnb for X,” which you can attribute to a growing acceptance that as we all become connected, there’s little reason for each of us to own all the same stuff when we could just borrow what we need from a neighbor.

Apparently that theory even holds true for the construction industry, where a little startup called EquipmentShare is making it easier for construction crews to rent equipment they don’t own from other contractors, while also allowing them to make money off their own idle gear."

Read the full story on TechCrunch

The 5 Laws of Interface Design

Y Combinator's own Kevin Hale is going to be teaching one of his favorite talks on the 5 laws every software designer should know about interface design tomorrow on Platzi (YC W15). It'll be the first time that it'll be recorded and he'll walk designers through the experiments used to discover those laws and visualize the math behind them in ways that makes it easy to see how to apply them in day to day design work.

You can watch and participate in the livestream tomorrow starting at 12pm Pacific Time. 

Atomwise (YC W15) Discovers Drugs For Diseases That Don’t Even Exist Yet

“Here I am just sitting in this house and I’m able to predict a cure to measles,” co-founder of Atomwise Alex Levy tells me over the phone from his apartment in Mountain View, Calif.

Atomwise, a health tech startup in the current Y Combinator batch, has launched more than a dozen projects in the last year to find cures for both common and orphan diseases – diseases that would otherwise be too expensive and time-intensive to tackle. It’s working with IBM to find a cure to Ebola and with Dalhousie University in Canada to search for a measles treatment. Levy says the startup went through 8.2 million compounds to find potential cures for multiple sclerosis in a matter of days."

Read the full story on TechCrunch

YC Digest - 2/27-3/5

Top Stories from the YC World - 2/27/15-3/05/15
Sam Altman On The Elements Of A Successful Startup



How Game of War makes more than $1M a day (Machine Zone YC W08) by Bloomberg

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How rocket science makes a perfect steak (Cinder YC W15)

YC welcomes Cinder to the W15 batch: 

"'Do you want to cut a piece of rocket science steak?' Eric Norman asked.

Those three words, “rocket science steak,” had brought me to this tiny conference room in a shared workspace in the SoMa district here, the famous hotbed of technology startups. And judging by the envious looks on the faces of many of the people on the other side of the conference room’s glass door, I made the right decision.

I’ve come to check out Cinder, a brand-new high-tech cooking appliance from Cinder Cooklabs, a member of the current class of startups in Y Combinator, Silicon Valley’s best-known accelerator program, that goes on sale today."

Read the full story on VentureBeat

Lumi (YC W15) Will Help You Customize Anything (Literally, Anything) On The Cheap

"Customization pretty much comes standard in today’s online world. but when it comes to offline goods, we are still limited in many ways by the designs chosen by manufacturers. 3D printing has done its part in changing that, but a new YC-backed company, Lumi, is looking to offer a different set of customization tools.

Lumi turns any graphic into a rubber stamp or silk screen, which sold as a part of a tool kit that includes ink and everything else you need to customize any surface.

The idea started back in 2012 when the Lumi founders, Jesse Genet and Stephan Angoulvant, launched a Kickstarter campaign for a special Lumi printing process. The process included the use of Inkodye (special water-based dye that develops color in sunlight), which can bind to any vegetal or animal fiber, like cotton, linen, wool, silk, suede and wood."

GitLab (YC W15) is part of the Y Combinator family

"As reported by Techcrunch we’re part of Y Combinator’s winter 2015 batch!

At first glance, it might not seem obvious for our company to join Y Combinator since we already have 10 employees and hundreds of paying clients. The reason for joining was learning more about how to grow as a company. We were always really focussed on GitLab and of course we never want to lose that. But we want to avoid as many mistakes made by fast growing companies and to learn from the Y Combinator partners that have seen hundreds of organizations growing fast. There are regular events that feature experts in all facets of building a company, from user retention to enterprise sales. And it is great to hear stories from other startups,what they have overcame and how relentlessly resourceful they have been." 

Sytse Sijbrandij, Founder, GitLab

Read the full post on GitLab's blog

Outbound (YC W15) Helps Businesses Message Customers Over Both Email And Mobile

"With the shift to mobile devices, businesses today have a need to reach their customers wherever they are – and that includes marketing to their customers outside of email alone. A Y Combinator-backed startup called Outbound wants to help today’s marketers run campaigns that go beyond just tracking “opens and clicks,” and can also reach customers using mobile-friendly channels like push notifications, SMS and even in-app messages.

The problem is something with which Outbound’s co-founders, Dhruvkaran Mehta and Josh Weissburg, are personally familiar. The two previously worked together at the car-sharing company Getaround, where Weissburg was focused on activation and Mehta was the engineer who worked on growth alongside him."